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  • Seminar,

Fiona Gedeon Achi (Africa Gender Innovation Lab à la Banque Mondiale)

Published on May 13, 2022 Updated on May 13, 2022
Date
Le 18 May 2022 De 11:00 à 12:00
Complément date

Pôle Tertiaire - Site La Rotonde - 26 avenue Léon Blum - 63000 Clermont-Ferrand
Room 212

Séminaire recherche. What does evidence do? Development, policy impact, and the uncertain power of evidence

What does evidence do? Development, policy impact, and the uncertain power of evidence

Abstract

This article analyzes how development experts seek to demonstrate the policy impact of their work to numerous publics, such as government bodies and international donors. It focuses on evidence-based development: the movement to reduce global poverty by producing quantitative evidence about “what works”. Drawing on fieldwork with transnational NGOs in Kenya, India, and the USA, this article examines the contrast between my interlocutors’ commitment to “rigorous” evidence as a prerequisite to successful poverty alleviation and yet the difficulties they face when assessing the actual impact of that evidence on development policy worldwide. By asking, along with my interlocutors, “what does evidence manage to do?”, I evince the various forces which struggle alongside their ambition to shape policymaking. By engaging with literature on accountability and global health, I offer the concept of “uncertain power of evidence” to emphasize that, while quantitative indicators are ubiquitous in social life, their effects are multiple, unknowable, and unexpected.